New Year, Next Chapter #Happy2021

happy new yearAlthough I tend to think of a new year as a new book, this year feels more like the next chapter in a long, drawn-out story.


Lately, I have taken to calling it The Year That Shall Not Be Named. For all the anxiety and sadness The Year brought into the world, there are shining moments, too. Here’s the view from my little corner …

  • People read more books. The uptick in borrows and buys of books for youth audiences suggests parents were reading more with their younger kids.
  • Audiobooks continue to grow in popularity, as does acceptance that they are a real reading option.
  • Authors and illustrators created unique, virtual opportunities to connect with young readers. From how-to-draw workshops to online readings and tours. 

Readers discovered and connected with books in new ways. Best of all, the voices  for diversity, representation and inclusion are getting louder and reaching deeper. This video of 2020 Cybils Awards finalists is a recent example that illustrates that we are moving toward a new reality in books for children, teens, and their families.



Visit the Cybils Awards website to see the individual lists and read about each finalist.

Author Note

What was HUGE for the Reading Tub was the surge in review volunteers. As I mentioned in this post, we had 40 volunteer readers/reviewers sign on in July. While most have returned to school, some are still reading and sending in reviews.

In 2020, we had nearly 500 reviews submitted through November 30! Sadly, not all of them met our criteria, but we did publish 374 teen-and 25 parent-submitted reviews on the website! I keep annual tallies on Goodreads; here is the 2020 list if you are interested.

Chapter the Now

Just like a great book, 2021 has pulled us in quickly and we are eager to see the adventures that await. What we already know (from the last chapter), is that the stage is set for an amazing year.

First, I have 53 new book reviews to publish. There were so many reviews that I set 11/30/2020 as my end date for The Year. Everything i received in December 2020 and already in January (!) will be the first published in 2021. 

At the same time, I am reading (and loving) the finalists in the Middle Grade Fiction Category for #Cybils2020. I volunteered as a Round 2 judge and am part of a panel that has to pick the winner from among these 7 amazing books. From what I’ve read so far, it isn’t going to be easy. 

Chapter the Next

What happens after 14 February (when the Cybils Awards winners are announced) is not yet fully sketched out. Here’s what I have on my Possibilities Board: 

  • Write a series of literacy skills-related posts
  • Expand our collections of Read-Alikes and Book Lists
  • Find a new provider and rebuild a newsletter audience.
  • Return to the business of fundraising to keep the Reading Tub going.